About Us







The Garden

Contact Us


Volunteers' Blog - August 2023

At the end of my last blog I mentioned that our attention needed to be turned towards the Alpine Garden. With a concerted effort, and better weather, we removed a large number of weeds from the beds and paved area. Peter Thompson, Garden Manager, brought those on the monthly Friends walk around the garden to show the progress that has been made and his plans for the future. For those who are not aware, Peter, or one of his team, leads a walk around the Garden on the last Wednesday of the month, starting at 10am. This is a chance to hear topical news as well as picking up some tips and inspiration for our own gardens. After the walk there are tea, coffee and cakes, all for a pound, and the opportunity to catch up on the latest news with other Friends.

The fine weather did not last, and I am sure we all recall the torrential downpours that have been a feature of this last month. One of these particularly wet days provided the volunteers with the excuse of a (very late) spring clean of the greenhouses. Floors were swept, pots weeded – particularly those of the insectivorous plants – and mulch returned to where it belongs. One of the displays that is often missed is that of the Coleus (Coleus scutellarioides). These plants provide a spectacular, coloured, backdrop for school parties and students working in the classroom area of the greenhouses.

As the weather improved we were once again outside. We have continued to weed and tidy the New Zealand and Australasia beds. In particular removing Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) and Bitter Cress (Cardamine hirsute) from amongst the Pirri Pirri burr (Acaena novae-zelandiae). This invasive species, originally from New Zealand, has become established on Lindisfarne. It is thought that it arrived in Northumbria on fleeces brought into Berwick around 1901. The sticky burrs it produces becomes attached to clothing and animals aiding their dispersal. Although an interesting botanical specimen, within a Botanic garden, this volunteer, finding burrs attached to socks and laces, ensured they were carefully disposed of, to prevent this pestilential plant from spreading into his own garden! One of Peter’s team, Claire, has been working on this area for some time, so it has been good to give her a hand. The lawn below the bed has been redefined and new gravel added to the beds smartening up the whole area.

A warm summer's day allowed those working at packing seeds, and tying Juliet Percival’s maps of the Garden, to work outside. Volunteers have also been busy deadheading and tidying the Terrace so that when we stop for a well-earned coffee all looks wonderful.

Peter’s team have been tidying the lawns towards the entrance to the Visitor’s Centre from the carpark. This area has been turned over to experimental plots which are being used to compare how different techniques assist in the creation and development of wildflower meadows. The Volunteers have been busy here trimming round the tree guards protecting the Red Buckeye trees Aesculus splendens.

The Volunteers have also turned their attention to the Sakura Friendship Garden, more often referred to as the Cherry Circle. Our experienced and mostly well-disciplined professional team of weeders and sweepers set to, cleaning between the bricks of the block paving and weeding around the stone benches. To finish off, the weeds growing round the tree guards of the dozen cherry trees that surround the circle were also removed.

We have continued to edge the paths, most recently the one running past the Magnesian Limestone bed and Japanese garden, which is currently being developed as a memorial to Mike Hughes. The Umbrella Pine (Sciadopitys verticillate), a Japanese native, seen in the foreground of the picture right, also had a tidy.

Alex Taylor